GIBRALTAR authorities are completing the final checks on the new tunnel that will become the new entry point into the British territory from Spain from Friday.

On Wednesday, emergency services ran a test to check the tunnel’s safety systems, simulating a fire using smoke machines and checking accident scenarios.

The tunnel operators, trained to UK and EU safety standards, checked out the PA emergency messaging system and fans that create safe areas for drivers in a fire.

Authorities have developed the Airport Tunnel Emergency Plan over the last few years.

During the day, local residents heard PA systems announce ‘Fire in the tunnel’ and signage display the warning.

The blue-light presence in the area was part of that mock response, acting out the plan to make the airport tunnel project a secure environment, even in an emergency.

Huge fans that create safe areas for drivers in the event of a fire were also put into operation.

Tunnel control room operators that have taken a comprehensive four-week training programme from a UK company were key to the exercise.

The course brought them up to UK and EU tunnel safety standards.

Its specialties included ‘critical tunnel management activities, such as traffic and incident management, dynamic risk assessment, tunnel-related life safety engineering systems, and Joint Emergency Service Interoperability Programme (JESIP) major incident management principles’, the government said in a statement.

Minister for Civil Contingencies Samantha Sacramento said: “The new tunnel under the runway will become the main route for vehicular traffic to and from the frontier, Gibraltar International Airport and other important sites in the area, from one day to the next.

“It is vitally important that Gibraltar’s emergency responders, together with the tunnel’s Control Room are able to properly test the robust systems and plans that are already in place with regards to a number of potential emergency scenarios.”


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